Tamil Nadu

No Pongal hamper for residents of 27 districts going to polls

Madurai, Tamil Nadu, 22/10/2019: A view of Madurai Bench of Madras High Court, in Madurai. Photo: R. Ashok / The Hindu

Madurai, Tamil Nadu, 22/10/2019: A view of Madurai Bench of Madras High Court, in Madurai. Photo: R. Ashok / The Hindu   | Photo Credit: R_ASHOK

Largesse limited to 10 districts for now

The State Election Commission (SEC) has said that the government could distribute Pongal gift hampers, including ₹1,000 in cash, to ration cardholders only in Chennai and nine districts where local body polls have not been notified.

In the 27 districts where polls would be held for rural local bodies on December 27 and 30, the hamper could be distributed later, after the model code of conduct was lifted.

Following a submission by Advocate General Vijay Narayan on Thursday, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court closed a petition that sought to restrain the State government from going ahead with the distribution of Pongal gift hampers to ration cardholders in view of the local body elections.

A Division Bench of Justices M. Duraiswamy and T. Ravindran closed the petition taking cognisance of the State government’s submission that the SEC had permitted it to distribute the hampers in nine rural districts where the elections would not be conducted for now. In a reply to the permission sought by the government in this regard, the SEC said that it could distribute the hampers in the other districts after the model code of conduct was lifted.

‘Prospects hit’

The court was hearing a petition filed by P. Subbulakshmi of Dindigul district, an independent candidate. She said that the distribution of hampers was in violation of the model code. Further, the prospects of candidates like her were further dented by the move. She sought a restraint on the distribution of the hampers.

Ms. Subbulakshmi, in a connected petition, said that ballot papers in different colours had been prepared for various posts. But all the ballots were to be put into a common box. This would create room for malpractice, she said, and sought separate boxes.

With the ballot boxes already shipped, the court closed the petition, directing the State to consider the representation made by the petitioner in future local body elections.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 3:19:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/no-pongal-hamper-for-residents-of-27-districts-going-to-polls/article30352754.ece

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